Updated: Aug 18, 2022
Teh Lay Seng was a prominent businessman in Ipoh who had contributed most of his wealth to the local community in Perak, the British administration and to his home country, China. Born in 1870, in Fujian, China, Teh Lay Seng arrived in British Malaya in 1884. From humble beginnings as a coolie driving a bullock cart carrying sundry goods, he worked hard and became a wealthy businessman. His business as a sundry goods trader flourished and expanded well into other towns and states. As an active community leader and philanthropist who was sensitive to the needs of his community and the poor, he founded the Perak Hokkien Association in 1897 and Yuk Choy School in 1907.
Although he became prosperous and successful in British Malaya, he was constantly worried about his fellow countrymen in his homeland who was then under the Qing regime. Hence, in 1906, he joined Sun Yat Sen, donated his own funds and helped to raise funds in support of Sun Yat Sen’s ideologies and initiatives. As a result, Teh Lay Seng received many accolades and certificate of appreciation from Sun Yat Sen.
In 1919, because of his numerous contributions to the local society and to the British administration, Teh Lay Seng was conferred with the title Justice of Peace by the British Government.
Prepared by: Angeline Teh, Author of Wisdom of the Past